29th JULY 2020 – UNITEN’s Student Representative Council (SRC) had organised a talk show through live on social medias and was held from 8.00pm to 9.30pm. #KITAINTERAKSI Series-2, which was launched online due to complications with the current COVID-19 pandemic was spearheaded by Mr. Hafiz Roslee, assisted by Ms. Sharmella a/p Ramalingam and his team. #KITAINTERAKSI Series-2 discussed on the implementation of ‘virtual learning’ and how it is being handled by students and lecturers of UNITEN. 3 panelists were invited – En. Mohd Azrin Mohd Azau, an Electrical Power Engineering lecturer, Mr. Abdulaziz Mohammed Alatir, a Mechanical Engineering student on his 2nd year of study, also the vice president of the ISS, and Mr. Puven Alvin Victor, the president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineering who is taking Bachelor of Computer Science (Cyber Security).
The talk which took place through Skuad Media UNITEN’s (SMU) Facebook and kitauniten’s Instagram pages saw a total of 9 questions from the moderator and viewers being discussed by the three panelists. The first question asked for the panelists’ response towards virtual learning that was implemented in UNITEN. En. Azrin, as a lecturer found that e-learning is complementary to traditional learning but does not completely replace traditional learning and that both methods need to coexist. He also felt that although the world is plagued with the COVID-19 pandemic, it should not be an excuse to stop learning. Mr. Abdulaziz stated that he did not expect virtual learning to be easy and that he had to adapt to it. However, he was also not mentally prepared as virtual learning was implemented during the third week of the Special Semester. Mr. Puven on the other hand, felt that there were initial challenges that he had to face as a student but over time, it was not an impossible task to adapt to virtual learning. He himself stated that he did not face much troubles with e-learning.
Although the three panelists seem to be handling e-learning quite well, it is not without its problems. The second question explored the challenging issues that they had faced while adapting to the virtual teaching environment. Sir Azrin in particular faces a lot of challenges as he stated that not only does he have to find ways to motivate himself, but also his students as he is trying to keep both sides’ interest in the subject. He also states that as a lecturer, Sir Azrin must change his style of teaching based on the subjects that he is lecturing and that it is hard to acknowledge if his students understand the materials given due to them shutting down their cameras and microphones. Mr. Puven’s biggest challenge is similar to Sir Azrin’s hardship where he struggled to find the motivation to keep continuing due to technical errors. Moodle and similar services that were provided by UNITEN kept going down during certain occasions and there are the unfortunate ones who were having hard times keeping up with the lecture due to poor internet connection. Mr. Abdulaziz supported Mr. Puven’s points by adding on the fact that as international students, they have to adapt to a timetable which was not suitable for their respective timezones. Some even have class at 5 am which proved very inconvenient.
The aforementioned challenges although proved to be tough, however, the three panelists suggested their own solutions when asked on what recommendations and improvements that they would like to suggest for improving the experience. Sir Azrin responded by suggesting that the teaching instruments must be comprehensive and that it is constructed such that both lecturers and students can greatly benefit from e-learning. He assures that UNITEN is working hard to find a suitable method to achieve this goal. Another suggestion from Sir Azrin was that there needs to be a support system for students and lecturers in the long run so they can motivate themselves. Mr. Abdulaziz also suggested that there should be a support system for both students and lecturers and that it would be wise to treat e-learning as just another face to face learning. On the other hand, Mr. Puven suggests that a committee is formed where the sole focus of the committee is talking about experiences in e-learning. Collaborations have also been done. For example, a collaboration with YTL saw SIM cards being handed out to students so that they can join online learning.
Over the remainder of the event, the panelists answered the questions from the viewers that was being presented by the moderator. Some of the more interesting questions included asking a way to cope should a technical issue happen during online presentations to which Sir Azrin responded by suggesting the student to pre-record their presentation as a backup plan to send to the lecturer in case anything happens. After the Q&A session ended, the moderator ended the event with a few final words from the panelists before ending the stream at 9.30 pm.
Written by Ashraf Danial bin Mohamad Fauzi